Posted by: Tobias | August 22, 2008

Blip!

I have no idea how hip you guys are to all these web 2.0 social networks, but I just wanted to let you know that I’ll be posting music as I discover it to my Blip.fm account (and throw in a few classics for good measure) from now on.

Blip.fm is a relatively new network which works basically like Twitter (the web 2.0 network du jour), but lets you attach a song to each message (tweet, blip, whatever). You can then “become friends” with people whose taste in music you enjoy and listen for hours and hours to what your “friends” have posted, discovering loads and loads of new music in the process. Of course it’s not necessary to be a member to have a look at what I’m up to every once in a while.

My feed is fairly soul/funk heavy at the moment, but I promise, there will be times when that will shift towards rock, indie or jazz again (sometimes hourly). Heck, who knows, maybe I’ll even return to my techno/house phase eventually.

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Responses

  1. Needles to say: consider me not so hip and this whole thing is new to me. I’ll add it to my favorites and try to familiarize myself with it and your music choice 😉
    (Now listening to the fist one: street life. If you go this way you could also add some classics from the Kill Bill or Pulp Fiction movie or maybe I should start my own Blip thingie)

  2. I haven’t heard of this either. However, I must admit that I am kind of getting tired of all these social networking sites. To be precise, what I find annoying is not so much the idea of social networking itself, but rather the fact that there are easily a dozen of these sites.

    Myself I am registered with
    facebook
    studivz
    xing / OpenBC
    LinkedIn
    Internations
    LastFM
    kaioo and
    doostang
    Furthermore, there are a couple of organisation- / event-specific alumni networks (among them the UM-alumni site), where I update my information. I have only recently deleted my accounts with MySpace and StayFriends.

    In the case of chat programms, you could observe a similar tendency some years ago. Since everyone was using a different software, you had to have usernames at least with ICQ, MSN, AIM and skype, and maybe a couple of them more.
    By now, I have the feeling that (at least among my friends) the market has become more clear, with skype basically taking most of the share. In fact, I am actually considering deleting all my other accounts.

    Economically, this should make sense due to positive network externalities, which make this sofware more useful, the more members are on. Once a bulk of the consumers has decided which software they prefer, the others usually join and alternatives become redundant.

    On first sight however, the same should be true for social networking. It might be interesting to observe when in this market, a tipping point is reached and alternatives leave the market.
    Compared to chatting software however, there might be a number of additional obstacles:

    1) language: many of my friends still stick to the German studiVZ simply because they don’t have many international friends, and because they are not all too familiar with the English language. This is however slowly changing as facebook is being translated. Also, since the set-up of both sites is virtually the same, there are always rumors that facebook might one day simple buy up StudiVZ.

    2) different target groups: student vs business networks

    3) special features: last.fm clearly is a music network, offering features other networks don’t have. A similar thing holds true for myspace, which is, as far as I know, mostly used by artists.

    Still, I feel that there could be large utility gains made if some of these networks teamed up to offer all of the above, and thus make the smaller ones redundant.

    What are your thoughts on this?

  3. I think your estimate of “a dozen” of these networks is easily off by two orders of magnitude. I’ve personally signed up to more of these sites than I can even remember and I regularly use about a dozen or so. I used to tumble on my own before I started writing for this blog, I twitter occasionally, do the whole social bookmarking thing, I listen to and now blip about music, I post pictures and generally keep in touch with old and current friends through 2-3 networks or so (though all networks other than facebook are suffering from severe neglect these days). And you know what? There are still networks whose idea I find intriguing enough to sign up for it (are Doostang and Internations any good, btw?).

    As far as having to remember log-in info for a gazillion different sites, here’s hoping OpenID will put an end to that soon. It’s a decentralized identity service that some real industry heavyweights (Microsoft, Facebook, Google) have started signing up (though none of them has yet to actually implement OpenID support on their properties. OpenID allows you to just sign up to any new service with a URL (e.g. mine would be http://royalts.myopenid.com/) and the entire log-in process would then be performed by the identity server. Only one piece of information to remember anymore. You’d still have to keep your info updated separately on all those sites, but at least it’s a start.

    As far as having to have multiple IM accounts, I don’t see what the problem is. I certainly wouldn’t want 5 different clients running at the same time, but with multi-protocol clients like Adium, the network over which the conversation is actually carried has become completely irrelevant to me.

    Getting to the economic questions associated with these networks, I’m sure you now that there is a gigantic literature devoted to them. Hal Varian, who is incidentally working for Google these days, and Carl Shapiro’s “Information Rules” would be a pretty good book to start with in case you’re interested in getting into it.

    Questions about when a network starts taking off (the “critical mass” or “tipping point”) and when a network loses out to the competition turn on things like intrinsic network value (independent of network size), switching costs (often quite small in this context), the differences in network size (need not be the raw number of all people in the net, but something like an “effective network size”, i.e. the size of the network of all people you are interested in, modified by how much you get out of the linkages to these people), cost structure of the suppliers and standardization/compatibility regimes. Most of the things you mention can be subsumed under one of these categories.

    About those utility gains, I don’t know.

    For one, some of the networks I enjoy most get a lot of their charm out of a single-minded focus on doing just one thing but doing that one thing really, really well. I’m pretty sure last.fm wouldn’t be the place it has become if it were bought by Gracenote and integrated with its other businesses. And the facebook photo app doesn’t hold a candle to flickr’s offerings and I doubt they ever will.

    I also don’t mind giving my info to many different sites all that much because that way at least my info is dispersed over the entire web instead of being concentrated in the hands of just one or two companies (although even today Google could probably come up with a pretty darn accurate profile of me if they went through my address books, emails, search history, etc.).

    There are some networks that I’m pretty sure will soon cease to be. With most it’s just a matter of time before people leave for greener pastures. I cannot, for example, imagine that Facebook would buy StudiVZ. They have tried in the past and were apparently put off by the price tag and then decided to conquer the market themselves by localizing facebook into German. And today their technological advantage over StudiVZ and their international momentum are so large that I would be seriously surprised if StudiVZ (and its international subsidiaries) were still around in 4 years time. I certainly don’t envy the Holtzbrinck managers who pitched that EUR 85M acquisition last year. They are going to look mighty foolish pretty soon. Xing probably has a marginally better chance of survival, but in their case, too, I doubt their long-term viability.

    As for myspace, don’t count them out just yet. They really are immensely popular (and useful!) when it comes to music and record artists presenting themselves and are still the social network of the lower classes.


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